Chapter Nine discusses the importance of communicating with students and parents about student learning. I like how this chapter shares how when students are able to communicate about their learning, it teaches them how to self-monitor and become more independent. I think that is crucial, especially with high school students. These students are getting to the age where they need to foster more independence, and in some cases perhaps be given more responsibility.
I really liked the idea of students creating a student-generated newsletter. Though this would be more difficult in a high school, I still believe it would be a great way to allow students to share what they’re learning in their classes. In a middle years setting, I think this is a great idea. Since middle years classes spend most of the day together, this would be easier as it would create more of a community when working on this process.
This article then discusses the importance of involving an audience, such as parents or guardians. Three-way conferences was one way in which I saw communication in my pre-internship. Fortunately, my cooperating teacher allowed me to be part of three-way conferences, and I learned quite a bit about working with parents. Some parents were very informed their child’s grades and how they were doing in school, while others were oblivious of their child’s mark, and admitted they were never on PowerSchool. I thought it was strange that some parents were surprised at how well or poorly their child was doing. I saw PowerSchool as a way of solving the issue of keeping parents in the dark, but never considered that parents still may not check it, or have access to a computer to check it. I noticed most of the teachers were big on letting the students facilitate the conference. I liked how they let the student do most of the talking and allowed his/her thoughts to be shared regarding his/her learning.
As discussed in chapter 8, portfolios seem to be a good tool for presenting students evidence of learning. I liked how in this chapter, it discussed inviting parents to write comments in the portfolio about their child’s learning journey. I liked the idea of allowing parents a space to record two compliments and one wish for their child. From here, I think this would be a good opportunity to sit down with the child and create goals on how students plan on finishing the semester.
Another way communication that was frequently used during my pre-interenship was e-mail. It seemed my cooperating teacher constantly was reading e-mails about students asking what assignments were missing, what assistance was needed, and how their child should register for classes in the fall. Though there were some “flaws” with e-mailing, it allowed parents and teachers to communicate directly about issues that may be arising. Even within the school, teachers were frequently e-mailing other teachers in the school. Sometimes it was about extra-curricular activities, other times it was about behaviour issues or incomplete work that students were missing.